New Frontiers


online harassment

How to Cite

Slaughter, A., & Newman, E. (2022). New Frontiers: Moving Beyond Cyberbullying to Define Online Harassment. Journal of Online Trust and Safety, 1(2).


Research on online harassment has become increasingly important as more aspects of daily life rely on the internet. Currently, large gaps in knowledge of how online harassment affects adults exist, in part because of the difficulties inherent in defining and measuring online harassment. This review traces the history of the definition of online harassment in order to suggest more useful approaches. The historical analysis reveals that portions of bullying definitions that have been carried over to online harassment definitions should be discarded. Instead, the workplace and sexual harassment literatures provide a better model to evaluate and compare existing measures and definitions of online harassment. Therefore, we propose the definition of online harassment as "interpersonal aggression or offensive behavior(s) that is communicated over the internet or through other electronic media." We also examine the benefits of different measurement time frames as well as the use of direct query or behavioral checklists. Finally, we present a new measure of online harassment, the Online Harassment Experience Questionnaire (OHEQ). The OHEQ is composed of eight online harassment items, categorized based on traumatic stress theory and selected after a review of the current online harassment literature. Each item’s frequency is measured on a 6-point Likert scale.
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